Here's a cheap cold frame you can make out of scrap lumber and a window. In this video I'll show you how to build the cold frame in a few hours. With this rig, you can do some winter gardening, and of course we have some videos on that, the links are at the end of this post.
Some enhancements I've done with we made the video:
- I painted the cold frame with outdoor latex paint, 2-3 coats is good, as plywood does not like to get wet, you know.
- I split open some old garden house and slipped it on the bottom of the cold frame to keep the wood out of the dirt.
- I've grown vegetables in winter for several years. Neat.
I'm betting you can find enough scrap lumber to make this a recycle or freecycle project. The wood doesn't have to be finish grade, and one of my pieces was warped, but it worked anyway. The hinges I had laying around, and the only thing I had to buy was the thermal vent.
What grows well in a cold frame? I grow cold hard salad greens and kale. Kale will grow in snow. I've dug it out of the garden and its still green in February. You can buy winter salad green mixes from the seed companies. Mache is a neat green that not many people grow, the seeds are kinda tiny.
If you don't get the auto vent, you will have to open up the frame on warm days. You will be surprised how hot it can get in a our cheap cold frame, even if it didn't cost us any money to build.
The biggest problem with this rig is the glass. It can break. That tree limb could have landed anywhere, but it landed on top of your super cheap cold frame instead. I have replaced the glass once. Luckily I had some spare windows that I salvaged a piece of glass out of. You might try putting some screening over the glass to protect it. Just a thought.
Below are some suggested books for winter gardening, let me know your thoughts.
Watch all of our hoop house videos here.